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Psy 315 - Research and Scientific Method

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Research and the Scientific Method

Ron Harris


June 27, Monday, 2011

Jennifer Slothower

The Scientific Method and Statistics

Scientific research is critical to answering questions, solving problems, and acquiring new knowledge. Scientists and theorists use systematic experiments designed in a controlled environment instead of simple observation. Primary and secondary data are useful tools in collecting information if used correctly. Statistics plays an integral role in scientific research.

The objective of scientific research is to produce reliability. For example, in Teaching PreK-8 an experiment illustrated the probability for a human to lay across a bed of nails without being punctured (Cowens, 2006). Four separate boards in enclosed boxes are drilled with nails protruding through them. The first board has one nail drilled through it, the second board has four nails drilled through, the third board has eight and the fourth board has 10 nails drilled through. A balloon, representing a human, is placed lightly on top of the board in each box. On top of each balloon a piece of foam board is placed. A bowl is placed on top of each foam board to which sugar, representing weight, is poured in by tablespoons. The amount of tablespoons required to pop the balloons is recorded. In conclusion, the hypothesis is proven correct: "the closer together the nails are, the less pressure is applied on a person's body" (Cowens, 2006). The aforementioned example shows reliability, meaning that the test can be repeated by other researchers, and it will yield the same results.

The use of experimentation is an example of data collection that researchers perform to obtain information pertinent to the relevant study. Within the same category are interviews, observations, and surveys. These research methods are categorized under primary data.

Primary data is original information collected by researchers in relation to the studies conducting. Sources of secondary data include books, journal articles, and online data sources. Reasons researchers must use both primary and secondary data in research is that some secondary sources can be skewed through bias. If I wanted to find who the best player in professional tennis was, I would not use articles about the player in Sports Illustrated or a reporters interview of the player solely. This is because the article will most likely be highly opinionated in favor or not in favor of the player. Using the player's stat sheet and tracking the player's statistics in important categories, such as 1st serves in, 2nd serves



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